Atari Anthology (PS2)

larzini's picture

In a record store (there's an anachronism for ya), I would call it the cutout bin. I guess at Toys R' Us it could be called the same. I laid out the $9.99 for Atari Anthology for PS2. Is it worth it? I'm not sure.

I never had the Atari 2600, having only played it at friend's houses, until I got my Atari computer, but I always remember looking at the JCPenney catalog each year at the screenshots of the games and circling which ones I would get if I actually had an Atari. This is back when the JCPenney in East Brunswick, NJ still had a cafe and I would eat the blueberry cheesecake with my older sister, who worked in the catalog department.

So tonight, I tried a few of these games, in lieu of a few extra hours of sleep, job hunting, paying bills, or whatever else folks do at night when they're not playing video games (yeah, I could think of a few others).

I may have called this a review, but it's more like a first impression type thing, and I only played a few games, so here goes.

Canyon Bomber. This one always caught my eye in the catalog, particularly because no one I knew had it. Drop the bombs, clear the blocks, andscore more points than the computer or your human counterpart. Simple, yet kind of fun. Although I found the mode (Sea Bomber) where you drop the bombs on the submarines completely frustrating. I'm not sure what it takes for my bombs to blow up my seaworthy foes, but a direct hit doesn't always seem to do it.

Crystal Castles. Both the arcade version and the 2600 port are included. I always liked getting the gems with Bentley Bear in the arcade. But like all good trak ball games, you need a trak ball to play it properly. But I'm glad it's there, the 2600 version is even more of a chore to control. Band sold separately.

Swordquest. Fire. Earth. Water. All three are included. (Weren't there four? After reading the Wikipedia entry, sound like there could have been three and a half.) I'm not too ashamed to admit that I was lost in these games, plus that when I could figure out what I needed to do in certain screens, the skills were not there to match the difficulty. Maybe I just needed the comic books.

E.T., Pac-Man, and Superman were among those titles not included, probably due to licensing issues. A shame, I always found the only right facing Pac-Man humorous, oh well.

I've had the Activision Anthology for some time now, and it really amazes me what the David Crane, Gary Kitchen, and the rest of them did on the same system. I don't think the Atari Anthology will get quite as much play in my house, but I can use it as a history lesson for my son. We've come a long way.

Comments

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Atari Anthology, Canyon Bomber and Swordquest series

I have the Xbox version of the Atari Anthology, which I believe is the same thing, save for the fact that the Xbox can be set as high as 1080i, which is convenient for some of the vector arcade games. At $9.99, I think it's quite worth it, but I do hate the organization. I don't know why these emulation anthologies need fancy-pants navigation systems - I think an option just to simply list every game alphabetically would work beautifully. Obviously, as is always the case with these things, matching up controls can be difficult, particularly if you're stuck with the default controller.

By the way, I had the Atari 2600 version of Canyon Bomber as a kid and enjoyed it a great deal (I'm sure I have a cartridge of it now too). I'm a sucker for brick busting games and obviously this has a rather unique take on the concept.

I remember the Swordquest games. Yeah, the last game released - albeit in limited form - was Waterworld. The fourth game never made it out. They really weren't that great as games, though A for the ambition level of the project. I actually sent my answers off for the first game and got a certificate back. I cheated by looking through the comic book for the answers without being told where to look by the game. Obviously I couldn't get all the answers right this way, but it was still fun.

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larzini
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Make the navigation part of the game.

You do what you must if you want to obtain Tramiel's sword. I concur about the navigation. It actually made me a bit queasy. Maybe if they made navigation systems more comparable to the anthologies. Have a guy that looks like Pitfall Harry walk through a fat pixel arcade to each machine to select. Have him walk up to dragon from Adventure to start playing, something like that. I don't mind a more involved navigation system if it's complimentary to the title. The Katamari series has done this pretty well. And I also like how there is more of the game to play when the credits are rolling. I don't know if you've got the PSP, but it actually goes into an 8-bit mode for some side-scrolling Katamari platform-type action.

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Crystal casles would be a reason to get it for me....

Both Crystal castle versions would be a reason for me to get this disc.

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davyK
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I have both the PS2 and PC

I have both the PS2 and PC versions of this and I've got a fair bit of enjoyment out of them...I reviewed this back in the "classic" AA days.

larzini
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Review still around?

DavyK,

You got a link for that one somewhere, or is it no longer online. I'd love to check it out.

LL

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Atari 80-in-1
larzini wrote:

DavyK,

You got a link for that one somewhere, or is it no longer online. I'd love to check it out.

LL

I believe Davy is referring to this: http://www.armchairarcade.com/aamain/forum_viewtopic.php?7.11777

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
(A PC Magazine Top 100 Website)
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davyK
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Atari Anthology (PS2)
Bill Loguidice wrote:

I believe Davy is referring to this: http://www.armchairarcade.com/aamain/forum_viewtopic.php?7.11777

Correct Bill - I had forgotten it was called "80-in-1" on PC (at least it is here in the UK).

I liked the nav scheme then and still do (although a straight alpha or chrono list really is the best way).

larzini
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Thanks for posting the link.

"but they are interesting to play with as opposed to play"

I completely understand that comment. Sure I can mess around with those games a little bit, but soon I'm off to bigger and better. But to know the past is to appreciate the future (and in this case, the current) Nicely written review.

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